February 26, 2018 Practice Points

Tips from the Bench: Cross-Examination

An experienced trial judge to offers tips on effective cross-examination

by Benjamin L. Tompkins and Andrew Alexander with Hon. J. Thomas Marten

This bar year, the Trial Evidence Committee is asking experienced trial judges to provide their insight regarding certain aspects of trial. We continue with Honorable J. Thomas Marten, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Kansas, who shared with us his thoughts on cross-examination.

Identify three strengths of an effective cross-examination.
Reconciling your cross-examination with the claims or defenses you are asserting in your case is the overarching concern for an effective cross-examination, so time spent thinking through each witness is an excellent starting point. Whether a fact witness or a witness who will offer opinion testimony, a lawyer needs to be aware of the witness’s role in the case and tailor the cross-examination appropriately.

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